News / Middle East

Iraq, Iran Forge New Relationship

Iraq, Iran Forge New Relationshipi
X
October 24, 2013 8:22 PM
The U.S. removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003 created a new dynamic between Iraq and Iran. The two nations, which fought each other in the 1980s, have re-established close ties - with implications for the region and the United States. VOA’s Jeffrey Young has this look at the impact of Baghdad and Tehran’s warming relations.
Iraq, Iran Forge New Relationship
The U.S. removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003 created a new dynamic between Iraq and Iran. The two nations, which fought each other in the 1980s, have re-established close ties - with implications for the region and the United States.

After fighting each other for nearly a decade, in a conflict that cost a combined half-million military casualties, Iraq and Iran ended their war in a stalemate in 1988. The two states remained coldly hostile for another 15 years.

In 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq and drove Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party from power. The result of that was the rise to power of the Shi’a, Iraq’s majority, whom Hussein had largely excluded. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shi’a Dawaa party are now a major force in Iraq’s government.

Iraq has renewed relations with its Shi’a neighbor, Iran, a move some in Washington view with concern.

But Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily says America has to accept Baghdad charting its own course.

"It is important for the United States to understand that Iraq is an independent country, Iraq is a sovereign country, but Iraq is a proud ally of the United States," said Faily.

Faily also deflects criticism that renewed ties with Tehran have given Iran too much influence in Iraq.

Persian Gulf analyst Afshin Molavi of the New America Foundation said what Iran wants would look like Lebanon.

"Iran’s vision is creating an Iraqi Hezbollah. They were hoping that Moqtada al-Sadr could become the Hassan Nasrallah of Iraq, the leader of an Iraqi Hezbollah-type political party that would be both a militia and a political party that could also provide social services. It’s a model that has served them well in Lebanon," said Molavi.

Another Washington analyst, Fred Kagan at the American Enterprise Institute, said Iraq charts its own course, but often works in concert with Iran.  

"Fundamentally, Iraq is acting, at this point, in the region as an ally of Iran on a state-to-state level in terms of its support for [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, in terms of Dawaa support for oppositionists in Bahrain, and just in terms of allowing the Iranians to flout the [UN, U.S. & E.U.] sanctions regimes in an outrageous fashion."

Molavi said the Iraq-Iran relationship is a matter of cold pragmatism and opportunism. "At the end of the day, I mean, these are amoral national interest states. You know, and these amoral national interest states will find reasons, you know, to shunt aside their ideologies, their religious affiliations, their sectarian identities, if they feel it’s both in the national interest of their state, but also, in the personal interest of their political elites."

Analysts say the emerging Iran-Iraq relationship compels the U.S. to accept that no one state will be able to control the outcomes in the volatile Persian Gulf.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs